'Average credit card interest rates have surged'

Spotted on the front page of yesterday's thelondonpaper:

Average credit card interest rates have surged from 17.2 to 17.6 per cent since May, according to banking research experts Defaqto.

My Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines a surge as "as a sudden powerful forward or upward movement... a sudden large temporary increase".

I'm not sure that an increase from 17.2 to 17.6% over a six-month period is either large or sudden. In short, not what I would call a surge.

Following on from that, I think 'surge' is one of those words that is massively overused by newspapers, not just in headlines (because it is shorter and sexier than 'increase') but also in body copy.

UPDATE 14/11/08: Our web editor points out that a key attribute of a surge is its temporariness. So does thelondonpaper believe that interest rates will soon decrease? I'm sure the writer didn't give it that much thought when he chose the word 'surge'.

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